It was like something from Psycho. Or maybe one of the plagues in Exodus. Either way, I was convinced that this was how I was going to die.
I was probably about ten years old. My mother had ordered me to get a shower and I obeyed. But something strange happened when I turned on the water. Water didn’t come out. Something came out but it wasn’t water. It looked like blood.
I’m now a 37-year-old father of two. A grown man, if you will. But if I turned on my shower today and blood came out, I would still scream. You would too.
As I was screaming, I could hear another noise. Laughter. From my mother.
Before she instructed me to take a shower, my sweet, innocent, Sunday School teacher of a mother managed to remove our shower head and put red Kool-Aid powder inside of it.
She thought that this would be funny. And it was. For her.
As for me, well, I haven’t had a shower in 27 years.
Sometime after that near death experience my mom called me from her place of employment with good news.
“Jay, I got something special for you today. A guy that owns a hot air balloon came into my office and I asked him if he would take you for a ride in it. Just wait outside and you’ll see him. He’ll land in the street and pick you up.”
I spent all morning looking for that hot air balloon. I even let my friends know about it. I talked trash to them.
“Have fun on the ground while I’m soaring through the heavens, losers.”
My search for the hot air balloon was only interrupted by the ring of our home telephone. When I picked it up I heard laughter. The same laughter I heard when I thought blood was coming out of the shower head. And then my mom told me to take a look at the calendar.
April Fools is my least favorite holiday.
Times have changed. If a mother tried something like that today she would be brought up for questioning by the federal government’s Center for Collective and Corrective Parenting (CCCP) and sent to Guantanamo Bay for a decade or two.
My mother has been gone for a few years now. Almost ten years. She lived a pretty difficult life. But through her suffering, she taught me what it means to follow Jesus. And as best as she could, she taught me how to be a man and how to treat a lady. Money was always tight and her health never was good but, along with all that she taught me, my mother also gave me a gift.
She gave me laughter.
I still have that gift today and I try to share it with my wife and two sons.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go put some red Kool-Aid in the shower head.
Happy Mother’s Day.